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Getting the right amount of sleep or finding a way to fall to sleep can be a real struggle for any person, let alone if you’re an expecting mother. Methods that you may have used to help you get a better quality of sleep may no longer work now that you’re pregnant, so what are you to do now? Read on to find out the things you need to do and the things you need to avoid when it comes to sleeping whilst pregnant!

When you fall pregnant, your body experiences a number of changes, which tend to affect the way in which you sleep. These changes lead to several reasons to why you may start to feel discomfort, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn

The good news about sleeping while pregnant is that there is no need to change the way you sleep until you reach your second trimester. So, with these things in mind, we take a look at the most common sleeping positions throughout the course of a pregnancy.

Sleeping on your back

Between 15 and 20 weeks gestation, the uterus grows big enough to start interfering with the flow of blood when sleeping on your back. The uterus can begin to compress the inferior vena cava (IVC), as well as tightening the aorta, which blocks the main blood supply to your body and placenta. Therefore, sleeping on your back during this stage of your pregnancy can decrease the amount of blood returned to the heart, resulting in shortness of breath or an increased heart rate when waking up.

Sleeping on your stomach

During the early stages of pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach is fine, but there will come a time where you will have to turn over, usually when the bump begins to show around 16/18 weeks. Once your bump starts to show, sleeping on your stomach can become uncomfortable and also have safety implications, similar to sleeping flat on your back. Sleeping on your stomach can cause your bump to move inside the stomach and again press against the IVC and aorta.

Sleeping on your side

The best and most commonly used sleeping position among pregnant women is referred to as ‘SOS’, which stands for sleep on side. More specifically sleeping on your left side, as this will help increase the number of nutrients and blood that reach both the placenta and baby. Sleeping on your right side can also compress the IVC, however, using pillows to prop up the uterus to prevent it sliding to the right can be helpful. It is not uncommon to fall asleep on your left side and wake up in a completely different position, on your back for example. If this does happen, there’s no need to worry as you probably weren’t in that position for very long. If you lay on your back during your third trimester, your blood flow will become compressed which will cause you to feel uncomfortable quite quickly, making you wake up. If you continue to wake up in a position other than your left side, ask your partner to check on you and move you back to your left side.

For further information on how to sleep when pregnant, or if you are experiencing troubles sleeping, get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. If you require a baby scan during any point of your pregnancy, be sure to browse from our range below!

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